Dorset Escape to the Country


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Dorset

Alistair Appleton is property-hunting with a couple returning to the UK from Italy. With a healthy budget, they are hoping to find a property in Dorset.


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This working farm is the only dairy in the world that produces this

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scrumptious cheese, which shares its name with the county we are in today.

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It's going to be a cheese-tastic Escape To The Country.

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'In today's show, I'll help a couple say arrivederci to the Italian Lakes

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'and repatriate to England's green and pleasant land, and it's obvious who's on a tight leash.'

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I could actually get all five dogs in here and if you are lucky you can join us too.

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-She's all heart, isn't she?

-All heart, isn't she, yes.

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I am a person who likes to know what's going on in my house.

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There's going to be no escaping her.

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'But perhaps the mystery property will get us out of the dog house.'

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Today we are in Dorset and it's the Friesian cows on this farm that produce Dorset Blue Vinny cheese,

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which died absolutely at the end of the Second World War

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and was resurrected on this very farm 30 years ago.

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It's a great example of the ancient and the modern coming together

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as it so often does in this wonderful county. Off we go, Richard.

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Dorset is positioned on the south coast and though only 50 miles

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across at its widest point it packs a pretty punch for its diminutive size.

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The temptation is to dwell on the country's spectacular 95 mile stretch that makes up the Jurassic coast.

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But beyond its beaches and cliffs lies a county rich in unspoilt countryside from the chalk down lands

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of Cranborne Chase to the rich dairy pastures of Blackmore Vale.

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And its market towns are steeped in history such as Dorchester,

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the county town since 1305 and inspiration for Thomas Hardy's Casterbridge.

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Locally-quarried Portland and Purbeck stone is abundant in Dorset's housing stock -

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olde world thatched cottages are typical,

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but the manor and farmhouses are a reminder of its rich agricultural heritage.

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There's not a single mile of motorway in Dorset,

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which makes it a particularly attractive option for those who like peace and quiet in their countryside.

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When you get to the east of the county you are closer to London

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and you can commute and that pushes up the house prices.

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So, on the border of Hampshire, for example, an average detached house

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will cost you £50,000 more than one in the centre of the county.

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But, as you are about to see

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there is plenty of beautiful property wherever you look.

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£750,000 would buy you a scheduled ancient monument in the form of

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this three bedroomed tithe barn in Cerne Abbas.

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The original cruck beamed roof soars through the main reception room and the light interior glows throughout.

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With a recording suite and offices in the outbuildings

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it will really strike a chord with musicians wanting a live/work space.

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This four bedroomed house in Poole dates back to 1870

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but has been much extended and could be yours for £650,000.

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The open plan living area flows from the kitchen with breakfast bar

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through to an impressive glazed dining area with a terrace that leads out to extensive gardens.

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For £399,000 this three bedroomed thatched cottage in Osmington is a real surprise inside

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with light flooding through its sitting room and not a beam in sight in the open plan kitchen/dining area.

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And, the conservatory extension offers up another generous space for relaxing.

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As you can see property buyers in Dorset really are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful views,

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but unfortunately our house buyers today have REALLY been spoilt when it comes to views. Let's meet them.

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Today's buyers are high fliers, Joe, a retired pilot, and Marilyn, an ex marketing director.

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Love was in the air 12 years ago when they met at Heathrow airport and for the last six years

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they've lived in the hills overlooking Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy.

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It seems like a dream come true so why on earth do they want to

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sell their five bedroom villa and settle back in rural Blighty?

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I stopped working a year ago when I retired and...

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I feel I need something to do which I can't do around here, partly because of the language issue,

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partly just because of the way of life here.

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We're approaching our "twilight years"

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and we have that feeling we'd like to move back to what is the more familiar,

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and that for us is home which we regard as the UK.

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'So, it's chocks away but where are they hoping to touch down?'

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We want to move somewhere in the south of England because

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we would like to enjoy the slightly warmer weather.

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The sun is very important to me because I grew up in

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the West Indies and the Far East. I love hot climates and plenty of sun.

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'And they certainly want to soak up the best of what the community has to offer in the countryside.'

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I'm not really a city dweller. I much prefer the open spaces,

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being able to go for walks, woods, parkland.

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If we could find a nice small village,

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that would really suit me.

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You're always reading about villages where the pubs and shops and post offices are

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shutting down, or the only way they can be kept going is by volunteers.

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So, that's the sort of thing I'd like to get involved in if we could find a place that needed that.

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-Especially volunteering at the local pub.

-Yes, very important.

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'And for the grand homecoming they have a long wish list for their perfect property.'

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Our next house must have four bedrooms, a large master bedroom with a full en suite.

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A house with a real wow factor,

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a beautiful garden that's easily manageable,

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a couple of extra acres, where we might be able to keep some animals, and it must have a stunning view.

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Also if the house had a separate studio or conservatory

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for me to do my painting in that would be a real added bonus.

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Yes. It can be old, it can be new, we don't really care too much

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and certainly inside we are not looking for any special features.

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But, there's even more to factor in.

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Having five dogs and three cats sitting around you late in the evening,

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enjoying the fire, it would be so much better if we could have a larger living room.

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Out of necessity, because Marilyn can only make banana sandwiches and

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I hate bananas, the kitchen is my domain.

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So, ideally what I would like is a large country style kitchen with a big island in the middle.

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Well, in Italy on Lake Maggiore you either get the views or you get the sun, you can't have both.

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In our case we chose the view but next time I think it's very

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important we get everything right and have the view and the sun.

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How are Joe and Marilyn planning to spend their time once they move back?

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During the summer I'd like to go around the steam fairs, steam railway preservation societies

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and that's something I'd like to volunteer towards as well if possible.

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And I certainly need the space to walk five dogs.

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Marilyn loves dogs, I tolerate them.

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Five dogs for me is too many.

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'It's a gargantuan wish list but do they have the budget to match?'

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We are looking for a property around the million pound mark.

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If we did come across something that was perfect in every way,

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we could probably increase that by another £100,000 or so.

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Because the Euro is very strong against the pound it's a very good time for us to move back to England.

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The great thing about this show is that it's not just buying a house for

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Marilyn and Joe but also organising a homecoming back into English culture.

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Now, on the property front they want massive views and vistas and lots of space but they do have a big budget.

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The one thing that slightly worries me is sun worshipping Joe, but he'll be happy to know

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that Dorset, with 1,626 hours of sunshine per year, is the second sunniest county in the UK.

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So, with magnificent views in mind we'll be focusing our search inland from Shaftesbury in the north,

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straying just over the border into East Devon.

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We'll be seeking out and showing them the best country properties the area has to offer,

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and I'll be asking them to guess the price of each house before revealing it to them.

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And lastly, there's our mystery house which will definitely put village life on their radar.

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Welcome back to England or benvenuti as I should say.

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Oh, it's so nice.

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Can't speak any more Italian though because we are back

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into the English countryside and the beautiful English weather.

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You must be so missing this?

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Oh, yes, like a hole in the head.

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We'll get to why you're moving back to England in a minute,

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but first things first how much money have we got to spend?

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Well, we were thinking of 1.1 million

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if we saw something absolutely spectacular and fell in love with it

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we could squeeze in possibly 1.2.

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Now, in terms of the property I know you've got a lovely

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fluffy white family to accommodate as well as your two lovely selves.

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They are definitely coming with you presumably?

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Oh, absolutely, we couldn't leave the family behind.

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So, space for the dogs and cats, but what else?

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Well, we've got a challenge for you because, as you've probably heard,

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we have a fantastic view and if you can come up with something like this,

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you'll be doing fantastically well.

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We should be in Cumbria if you want a view like this really, we don't have lakes down in the south.

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Don't you have that in Dorset(?)

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-We've got some lovely houses lined up because you have a beautiful budget. So, let's go.

-OK.

-OK.

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Joe and Marilyn have a grand budget of up to £1.2 million

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for their English country house, which, along with the wow factor,

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needs to include a large lounge that can accommodate Marilyn's five dogs,

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a huge kitchen for Joe, four bedrooms with a master en suite,

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an artist's studio, and a couple of acres of land.

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And, lest we forget, glorious views to rival those they enjoyed in Italy.

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You, Joe, you've been a real globetrotter not just in your pilot

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career but also in your childhood you were all over the place, weren't you?

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Yes, I was born in Kent but I moved to Jamaica when I was one year old.

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So, you don't have that childhood response to English countryside?

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No, no, I have very little experience of it.

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I love the sun, sand and sea and blue skies but unfortunately Marilyn

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can't stand the heat so I'm having to make a compromise on this one.

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So you are not going to complain too much about the fact that it's cloudy and wet in England.

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I'm sure I will, privately... but I'll make the most of it.

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But I probably won't listen, anyway.

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'For our first property we couldn't resist hopping just over

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'the border into East Devon to the village of Wick.

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'It's set within the Blackdown Hills, an area of outstanding beauty.

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'Just up the road the village of Upottery gains a mention in the Domesday Book and, with its 15th

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'century church and pub, it would give Joe and Marilyn the true English homecoming they are hoping for.

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'Set into the hillside is this Grade Two listed extended farmhouse.'

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Keep going and we are going to turn around about now and get the view!

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-Wow.

-Sacre bleu, a eureka moment.

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Very nice, very nice.

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Well, let's look at the house.

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It's an old property, bits of it date back to the 1500s and it's thatched. What do you feel about thatched?

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I don't really know much about it at all and I believe it's supposed

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to be fireproofed these days for insurance purposes.

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The thing is for you, realistically, you don't need to know anything about thatch

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because it was re-thatched five years ago and typically a thatch has about 35, 40 years in it.

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It costs on average about £1,000 a year to insure it but it is great insulation, it's green.

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-Let's get inside.

-OK.

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'Well, you couldn't get a more typically English country property and although it's not

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'the mountains of Lake Maggiore it's still pretty hilly for England.

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'Let's see if they can squeeze their four legged family in here.'

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Come into the main living space.

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This is very nice.

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Yes, beautiful.

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-Look at that fireplace, terrific!

-Can you imagine the dogs there?

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I could actually get all five dogs in here and if you're lucky you can join us too.

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-She's all heart, isn't she?

-All heart, isn't she, yes.

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You can start to see the history here,

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these beams would have been from the original 16th century cottage.

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-I like it, very nice.

-So, it's nice and light.

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You've got light coming in from both sides,

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you've got French windows over here and another door into the garden.

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So, is it a good size for you, Joe?

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It's an excellent size. The one thing I've got concerns about is

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that it doesn't actually look over the view of the valley.

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Well, due to the effects of geometry not every side of the house can face the view,

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-but there there are lots of lovely views.

-Unless it rotated.

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-But it is south west facing which I know is a plus for you.

-A plus, yes.

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Let's take a look at some of those other rooms.

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'Leading off the hall is a separate good sized dining room,

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'with stone fireplace and wood burner, which flows through into the kitchen.'

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Here's our first exposure to the view.

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Beautiful view.

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It's not the most massive kitchen, but is it a space you could work with?

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I think what I'd do is just rip the whole lot out and rebuild it.

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What's great is you've got a fantastic utility room on a different level,

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so you've got the washing machine, lots of space, lots of storage.

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And is that access to outside?

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-And that's access to outside so that's great for the animals.

-Super.

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Although this property is listed, in this particular instance they could,

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subject to planning, extend the kitchen out over one floor.

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This farmhouse may have more historic features than you can shake a stick at but it's light and open

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with generously sized rooms which they seem to like. Let's hope the upstairs measures up.

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We've got four bedrooms on this floor.

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This is one of the really good sized ones, not the master.

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It's a good size. Really is. Nice room.

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I'd like to show you the master, the master is the other end.

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'On the way to the master we pass another bedroom,

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'a bright double, great for guests or as a possible study.

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'At the end of the landing is the fourth bedroom which they could convert into a dressing room

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'as it's next door to the modern family bathroom.

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'And their bedroom is on the other side.'

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This is the master.

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So, you can lie in bed with the view.

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-It's not the biggest room, the other room is slightly bigger, but this is the killer view.

-Yes.

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And you've got a very nice en suite as well.

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But, that's not the only space we have.

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We've done upstairs but there's always outside.

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'I've got a treat in store for Joe, as the dogs have the living room

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'perhaps it's only fair he gets to play in the barn.'

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Ah-ha, you wanted a study, you wanted a studio.

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Oh, wow. Take your pick.

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It's great light because of the skylight. It's perfect for painting.

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And you've got this view as well, so you can be inspired by the landscape.

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Yes, it's a wonderful place, yes.

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-Could it work?

-I think it certainly good, yes.

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I don't think it would work for me as a study because it's hard enough to lure myself into the study

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and do a bit of work anyway when it's right next to the living room.

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I'd really want my study to be as close as possible to where

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the focal point of the house, where it's all going on.

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Well, that's fine, there's all the more space for me and my painting and my train set.

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Let's go outside for the final time and let's think about price.

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'Next to the house there's another large barn with a potting shed also included in the sale.

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'But, we'll take a stroll back and survey all that could be theirs.'

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So, here we are back to the beginning where we started the whole tour of your property.

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All told it's two and a half acres.

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It's really beautiful and I love this walkway around here,

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-it's a very nice feature.

-So, what do you think it's worth?

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I would think it would absolutely have to be at the top end of our budget,

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so I put it at £1.2 million, I think.

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Yes, I think it would be close to that, I'll go at £1.19.

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A bit more optimistic.

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Well, you can both be much more optimistic because this property is on the market for £975,000.

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-Good Lord.

-That's amazing.

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Well, that's great because it gives us some money to play with to do some extensions.

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Of course, the alterations, the improvements we would

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like to do, they could all be encompassed within our budget.

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-Ooh, great enthusiasm.

-Well done.

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Walk round and think about what you'd like

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to spend that extra £200,000 and I'll see you at the front.

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-OK, we will do that, thank you,

-Thanks.

-That way, mind yourselves on the steps.

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That's a good response because they are demanding clients and I think that we've...

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supplied something that fits their brief and it's a beautiful property

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and it would be a great entrance back into English countryside living.

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Under budget at £975,000 this farmhouse offers them a large living room with wood burner for the dogs to

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curl up in front of, a large bright kitchen with scope for an extension,

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four bedrooms with a master en suite.

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Outbuildings with plenty space for Joe's studio and model steam trains,

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and over two and a half acres of land

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with views to rival those they have in Lake Maggiore.

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It's a beautiful country view, don't you think?

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Yeah, if you can imagine this in summer it would be a great place to sit on the lawn overlook the view.

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It would be wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

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It's England at its best, I think.

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I think the setting is wonderful.

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I love the woods, the country lanes, the view, perfect, really like it.

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I absolutely surprised myself.

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When I saw I thought, "Oh, my God, it's going to be a dinky little cottage inside",

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but it has so many interesting nooks and crannies and magical little places,

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especially outside in the immediate surrounding gardens, that I really feel quite enchanted with the place.

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The ground floor was excellent, the upstairs, sadly in my opinion, let it down.

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The office space is excellent I can turn that into a wonderful studio and, for me, it's perfect.

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You've also got all these outhouses, these stables.

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You wanted to rescue some donkeys, right?

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Yes, it would be quite a good idea have a donkey or two.

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-Yes, great idea.

-No end to the possibilities of this property.

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As the day draws to a close over the Dorset hills, it marks the end of the first day of our property search.

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Joe and Marilyn are ready to leave the Italian Lakes

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and make a grand entrance back into English country life.

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For £1.2 million they want to find a property where they can live in the lap of luxury with their five dogs.

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Can our properties impress them?

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-This is just a hall?

-This is your hall.

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-Wow, fabulous kitchen.

-Big enough?

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That was a wow and a fabulous, Joe.

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Or will they be seduced by the charms of our mystery house?

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Dairy farming plays a major role in Dorset life and during the week I was up with the lark.

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It's five in the morning and I'm at Woodbridge Farm, just outside Sturminster Newton,

0:20:240:20:29

which is a farm in Dorset with a difference as we will find out,

0:20:290:20:33

and, of course, for farmers they've been up for hours anyway.

0:20:330:20:36

This family-run dairy farm is the county's, in fact the world's, only producer of the age old

0:20:360:20:40

Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, having revived the recipe some 40 years ago.

0:20:400:20:45

I'm spending the morning with the man responsible,

0:20:450:20:48

farmer and cheese maker, Mike Davies, to learn what makes it so exceptional.

0:20:480:20:52

Tell me about the Blue Vinny.

0:20:520:20:54

Blue Vinny has been made in Dorset for hundreds of years.

0:20:540:20:57

It was one of the cheeses that was banned in the last war because they

0:20:570:21:01

wanted to make all the cheese into cheddar type cheeses, hard cheeses, for easy transportation.

0:21:010:21:06

To make cheese you need milk and I see a fantastic herd, can we go and see them being milked?

0:21:060:21:12

Yes, we can do.

0:21:120:21:14

'Since 1998 Mike's Blue Vinny cheese has held

0:21:140:21:17

'Protected Geographical Indication, or PGI status,

0:21:170:21:22

'and is one of only 13 English cheeses to be awarded this by the EU.

0:21:220:21:27

'As Camembert can only come from Normandy and Edam from Holland,

0:21:270:21:30

'PGI status safeguards a local food's heritage, its link to a specific area and its unique properties.

0:21:300:21:37

'Time to check out its key ingredient.'

0:21:370:21:40

So, this is the, do we call it a milking parlour still?

0:21:400:21:44

Yes, milking parlour, yes.

0:21:440:21:46

-And how many times a day do they get milked?

-Twice.

0:21:460:21:48

Twice a day. So, how much does an average cow produce?

0:21:480:21:52

Well, Richard has got this herd milking really well

0:21:520:21:56

and they're producing, on average, about 50 litres a day.

0:21:560:22:00

-50 litres?

-Yes.

0:22:000:22:02

-One cow produces 50 litres?

-Yeah.

0:22:020:22:05

Who knew? So much milk from one cow.

0:22:050:22:08

-This all turns into cheese.

-Yes.

-Shall we go and look at the cheese?

0:22:080:22:11

Yes, sure.

0:22:110:22:13

'This hand skimmed cheese is tricky to make as the taste of

0:22:150:22:18

'the unpasteurised milk is affected by factors

0:22:180:22:21

'such as what the cows are fed and even weather conditions.

0:22:210:22:25

'Time to get a whiff of these cheeses halfway through their eight week maturing process in the store.'

0:22:250:22:31

So, this is Blue Vinny HQ.

0:22:310:22:33

-Yes, this is where it all goes on, Alistair.

-Quite a strong smell.

0:22:330:22:39

Yes, well, all the cheese are breathing and they are all living.

0:22:390:22:44

-As am I.

-You might say.

0:22:440:22:46

Typically the blue starts outside and goes in.

0:22:460:22:49

No, no, in actual fact although they've got a slight blue coat

0:22:490:22:54

the best cheeses we make are when the blue comes from the middle outwards.

0:22:540:22:58

Do I ever get to taste it or do I just smell it?

0:22:580:23:01

No, you can taste it, we'll go up to the farmhouse.

0:23:010:23:03

-I'm going to be smelling of it all morning.

-You are, yes.

0:23:030:23:07

'So, at last it's back to the farmhouse for a sliver of Dorset Blue for breakfast.'

0:23:070:23:14

So, here's my first ever Dorset Vinny.

0:23:140:23:17

Special, a special occasion then, Alistair.

0:23:170:23:21

Mm, delicious. So, in a way you've kind of, you've resurrected the cheese.

0:23:210:23:26

Yeah, I have, it had definitely died and we have definitely resurrected it, yeah.

0:23:260:23:30

It must be a nice feeling.

0:23:300:23:33

Yes, I mean you tend to get a bit blase about it, but yes, when I stop and think

0:23:330:23:37

sometimes, you think to yourself what have you done with your life,

0:23:370:23:41

and you think, "oh, yes, I reinvented the Dorset Blue Vinny".

0:23:410:23:46

-So that gives me a bit of kick.

-And very tasty it is too.

0:23:460:23:49

'Well, thanks to Mike's contribution an important part

0:23:490:23:52

'of Dorset's food and farming heritage is now alive again for years to come.

0:23:520:23:57

'Joe, Marilyn and I are heading to the village of Hooke, some 30 miles away from Shaftesbury.

0:23:590:24:04

'But they would still be a ten minute drive from the perfect sauntering territory of Beaminster,

0:24:040:24:09

'with its historical centre, now a conservation area lined with some 200 listed Georgian and Tudor buildings.

0:24:090:24:16

'And set in the unspoilt countryside is this farmhouse, currently run as a bed and breakfast.'

0:24:160:24:22

The sun is shining on us today because we've got a beautiful property to show you.

0:24:220:24:28

Very excited about this one.

0:24:280:24:30

As you can see, a former farmyard, but actually only from the turn of

0:24:300:24:34

the century, 1906 it was all built, but it was completely remodelled in 2001, so nine years ago.

0:24:340:24:40

-But I really want to show you the inside of the house, that's the treat.

-OK.

0:24:400:24:45

'This house has a grand symmetry about it and I think the stylish interior will amaze them.'

0:24:450:24:52

This is possibly the grandest hallway I've ever shown.

0:24:540:25:00

This is just a hall?

0:25:000:25:02

-This is your hall.

-Wow.

0:25:020:25:04

-It's a great size, isn't it, fantastic.

-Great floor.

0:25:040:25:07

And you can see what they've done in this incredible renovation to the property.

0:25:070:25:11

They've added all this length and all this open space to the sides.

0:25:110:25:15

I like the fact you have visibility straight through to the kitchen.

0:25:150:25:18

-I really like it.

-It's grand, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:25:180:25:21

Wait until you see these.

0:25:210:25:23

-Here we've got the beautiful sitting room.

-Wow.

0:25:260:25:30

-What a fabulous room.

-Isn't it great?

-Beautiful.

0:25:300:25:32

-South facing so flooded with light, and an open fire.

-Big open fire.

0:25:320:25:37

-Big open fire, nice focal point.

-Yes.

0:25:370:25:40

And I must say these see-through doors are an excellent idea.

0:25:400:25:45

I am a person who likes to know what's going on in my house.

0:25:450:25:48

There's going to be no escaping her now!

0:25:480:25:50

Ah, but actually there is because you can hide here in the little snug.

0:25:500:25:54

-And don't think he won't.

-Which is beautiful, which could also work as your study.

0:25:540:25:59

It's got a log burner.

0:25:590:26:01

Yes, perfect size actually.

0:26:010:26:03

I hope there's a key to lock the door with.

0:26:030:26:06

So you really can escape.

0:26:060:26:08

Yes, there's a back exit, I'll block that.

0:26:080:26:11

But isn't this a great space, this makes me want to just kind of sprawl out.

0:26:110:26:15

-It's a great room.

-Yes.

-Joe, wait till you see the kitchen.

0:26:150:26:19

OK.

0:26:190:26:20

'Joe's been a man of few words so far let's see if he heats up in here.'

0:26:200:26:25

-Wow, fabulous kitchen.

-Big enough?

0:26:290:26:32

That was a wow and a fabulous.

0:26:320:26:34

This is a great kitchen.

0:26:340:26:36

-Wonderful, wonderful, like the skylight too.

-Yes, let in more light.

0:26:360:26:39

So, this was the barn, that was the end of the house originally,

0:26:390:26:43

so this was the barn that they linked into the building and turned into this fabulous kitchen.

0:26:430:26:48

So, what do you think?

0:26:480:26:49

I love it. Yeah, it's really, really good.

0:26:490:26:52

I like the fact that there's room for circulation

0:26:520:26:55

so we won't get the bottlenecks that we currently experience.

0:26:550:26:58

-"Can't you move those dogs?"

-Yeah.

0:26:580:27:00

And you've got a fantastic walk-in pantry and then another huge,

0:27:000:27:04

sort of utility room there which will knock your socks off.

0:27:040:27:07

Let's take a look upstairs because that's also important for you.

0:27:070:27:11

'Well, they've been so captivated by downstairs that they seem to have forgotten about the views.

0:27:130:27:19

'We'll head upstairs now and explore this property's five bedrooms which are spread over two floors.'

0:27:190:27:24

Does the master bedroom match up to the kitchen?

0:27:240:27:28

It's a good size, I like it already.

0:27:280:27:30

It's nice and bright and good amount of wardrobe space, it's a good start.

0:27:300:27:36

Lovely light as well, you've got south facing windows and another window over the garden.

0:27:360:27:42

And, a massive en suite with a double shower, his and hers sinks and a bathtub.

0:27:420:27:48

-Wonderful.

-Didn't short change you on this house, Marilyn.

0:27:480:27:53

-Does it fit the bill?

-It certainly does so far, yes.

0:27:530:27:56

'On this floor there's also a twin room with light streaming in

0:27:560:28:01

'and a large double room used as a B&B guest room right next to the family bathroom.

0:28:010:28:07

'Up on the second floor is the fourth bedroom, a single in the eaves with an en suite.'

0:28:070:28:13

This is another room they use for bed and breakfast

0:28:130:28:16

because it's a beautifully self contained little suite.

0:28:160:28:19

All the bedrooms bar one have en suite.

0:28:190:28:22

It's a really interesting room, isn't it?

0:28:220:28:24

-Yes.

-I love the beams.

0:28:240:28:26

I love houses with sort of interesting features like this room.

0:28:260:28:30

This could definitely be, you could have this as your office space

0:28:300:28:33

although there is a considerable number of outhouses outside.

0:28:330:28:37

Ah, interesting.

0:28:370:28:39

'This impressive farmhouse would really launch Joe and Marilyn into English country living in a big way.

0:28:390:28:44

'There's certainly scope for projects galore in these outhouses dating back to when the house was built.

0:28:440:28:50

'There's a long barn, long indeed, stretching over 170 feet

0:28:500:28:55

'and an enormous main barn which Joe could fit a whole train station into.

0:28:550:29:01

'At the back of it is another ready-made space for him.'

0:29:010:29:04

-Look what they've got at the end.

-Ah, a studio.

-An artist's studio.

0:29:050:29:09

Obviously when all this stuff has gone you could practically turn the whole thing into a studio.

0:29:090:29:14

Yes, yes, I think it's got great prospects.

0:29:140:29:17

All of these outhouses are projects really, so you need to go around and scratch your head

0:29:170:29:21

and see what you could do with them but there's enormous potential.

0:29:210:29:24

And if you don't use them all, that's obviously not the end of the world.

0:29:240:29:28

But let me show you the full extent of the land.

0:29:280:29:31

-After you.

-Thank you.

0:29:310:29:33

'And there's plenty of it.

0:29:330:29:34

'Nine and a half acres in total, with paddocks, gardens and even a tennis court.'

0:29:340:29:40

It's a big parcel of land with some amazing outbuildings and a beautiful property.

0:29:400:29:44

How much do you think it's worth?

0:29:440:29:46

Well, I was wrong yesterday,

0:29:460:29:49

but I feel it's absolutely the top end of our budget, £1.2 million.

0:29:490:29:54

Yes, I think I've got to go along with Marilyn,

0:29:540:29:57

it's got to be very close to our budget, maybe just below £1.2.

0:29:570:30:02

Now, you're being over optimistic because it is actually right on your budget, £1.2 million.

0:30:020:30:08

And I think a great deal for that price because you get

0:30:080:30:11

an awful lot of property for it and some beautifully maintained house.

0:30:110:30:17

So, have a look because there's a lot to think about.

0:30:170:30:20

Have a wander round and if you can find your way back to the car...! When you hear the whistle...

0:30:200:30:25

-We'll take our satnav with us.

-Exactly. Meet me back in the yard.

0:30:250:30:29

-Thank you.

-All right, thank you.

0:30:290:30:31

'Priced at the very top of their budget at £1.2 million

0:30:310:30:34

'this magnificent farmhouse certainly has the wow factor they were looking for.

0:30:340:30:39

'Featuring grand reception areas with space for their pets to sprawl out,

0:30:390:30:44

'an enormous kitchen/breakfast room which Joe loved,

0:30:440:30:48

'five bedrooms with four en suite and an array of outbuildings

0:30:480:30:53

'set in nine and a half acres of land.

0:30:530:30:55

'But is the prospect of so much house and land too daunting?'

0:30:550:31:00

-So, what do you think of this barn?

-It's certainly a very big barn.

0:31:000:31:03

I'm slightly concerned about the extent of all the outbuildings.

0:31:030:31:08

Yeah, there is rather a lot, isn't there?

0:31:080:31:10

It would be very easy to imagine myself living here, particularly on this level.

0:31:100:31:17

I would have to exclude the outbuildings,

0:31:170:31:19

which are scaring me a bit in terms of their enormity,

0:31:190:31:24

but certainly I would feel very much at home in this house.

0:31:240:31:29

I'm just imagining a roaring fire,

0:31:290:31:32

Farouche and Zara here,

0:31:320:31:35

we can have Ulysses and Aurora next to you

0:31:350:31:38

and dear old Trevor in front of the fire.

0:31:380:31:42

He'd love it there, yes.

0:31:420:31:45

I love it, I really do.

0:31:450:31:47

It doesn't look that much from the outside, but inside

0:31:470:31:51

it's absolutely fantastic and the kitchen is out of this world.

0:31:510:31:54

Setting is a little disappointing,

0:31:540:31:57

not much of a view but...

0:31:570:31:59

I think we can work with it.

0:31:590:32:01

-You found it?

-Yes, finally.

0:32:010:32:04

-I laid a little trail of breadcrumbs to get you back.

-We did notice.

0:32:040:32:08

-There's a lot to look at.

-An awful lot, yes.

-There certainly is.

0:32:080:32:12

-But, now it's time to move on.

-Oh, slave driver.

0:32:120:32:14

We've given Marilyn and Joe big land and big views.

0:32:210:32:25

Now, I think it's time to test the water and see how

0:32:250:32:27

committed they are to community when they move back to England.

0:32:270:32:31

So, for the mystery house we've come to a village.

0:32:310:32:35

Our mystery house takes us three miles from Shaftesbury to Motcombe,

0:32:370:32:41

set in beautiful open countryside and peppered with gorgeous properties.

0:32:410:32:45

But this is no sleepy village, it has a dynamic soul with

0:32:450:32:48

a community-run post office and village store and regular events staged at the village hall.

0:32:480:32:54

And our mystery property puts them right at the heart of all this.

0:32:540:32:58

Come onto the lawn.

0:33:030:33:05

Let's check out this mystery house and see what it makes you think.

0:33:050:33:09

Well, it's different.

0:33:090:33:11

It's different, it's meant to be different.

0:33:110:33:13

The reason we've brought you to this house is because of where it is.

0:33:130:33:16

You mentioned that you really wanted to be part of the community and get involved with village life.

0:33:160:33:21

-Yes.

-All the properties we've shown you so far have been very remote.

0:33:210:33:26

So, the mystery house is in the middle of a very desirable village.

0:33:260:33:30

It's a great little slice of England.

0:33:300:33:32

Let me tell you a little bit about the history because it's quite interesting.

0:33:320:33:36

These three cottages at the end were three separate dwellings, the last of which was the village post office

0:33:360:33:42

and this was a workshop, a wheelwright and a coffin maker's.

0:33:420:33:46

And you'll see inside again how the renovations have worked.

0:33:460:33:51

-Interesting.

-Shall we take a peek?

0:33:510:33:53

-Why not.

-Yes, thank you.

0:33:530:33:55

'Well, from the outside our mystery house is certainly an intriguing mix of historic buildings

0:33:550:34:00

'and the sum of its parts makes for a beautifully spacious home.

0:34:000:34:05

'Let's see if Joe and Marilyn are captivated by its charm inside.'

0:34:050:34:10

So, this is actually the most modern part of the house,

0:34:100:34:13

joining up the two bits and straight into your realm, Joe.

0:34:130:34:17

-I think this is a contender for a nice kitchen.

-Very nice.

0:34:190:34:23

Oh, very nice, I like it.

0:34:230:34:25

It's almost actually quadruple aspect, you feel like the sun is coming in from everywhere.

0:34:250:34:31

-Very lovely through the window.

-And lovely flagstone flooring.

0:34:310:34:34

You can see they've spent a lot of money on this.

0:34:340:34:37

It's a super hi-tech kitchen, can you imagine working in here?

0:34:370:34:39

Oh, definitely.

0:34:390:34:42

-And under floor heating.

-Oh, that works really well.

0:34:420:34:46

'And I bet they love what's to follow.'

0:34:460:34:48

Ta-da! This is the sitting room.

0:34:500:34:52

-Wow.

-Brilliant. I love it.

0:34:520:34:55

I love the high ceiling and the beams, really nice.

0:34:550:34:58

You get under floor heating under these beautiful floorboards.

0:34:580:35:02

Really? Now that's a huge plus for us actually.

0:35:020:35:05

-Yes. This is the main lounge?

-This is the main lounge although there is more to see later on.

0:35:050:35:09

Also you notice there's absolutely double, triple glazing in places,

0:35:090:35:13

to keep the noise from the road, once you're in you don't actually hear it.

0:35:130:35:17

You can't hear a thing.

0:35:170:35:19

'We'll go back through the kitchen to the old wing of the cottage where

0:35:190:35:22

'there's a smaller, cosier beamed sitting room, off which is a nice bright study for Marilyn.

0:35:220:35:28

'If she's worried about low beams, she has nothing to fear next door

0:35:280:35:32

in the original post office, now one of the four bedrooms.'

0:35:320:35:36

You see here they've painted the beam white.

0:35:360:35:38

-Yes, that works.

-It makes a difference.

0:35:380:35:40

It's actually still about the same height.

0:35:400:35:43

Here is a nice detail, this was the door to the post office.

0:35:430:35:46

-Quaint.

-And again it's got a nice en suite.

0:35:460:35:50

So, this is essentially a little guest wing.

0:35:500:35:53

-Again I'm very impressed with this.

-I'm silently evaluating.

0:35:530:35:57

I have to wait until my opinion crystallises. I need more time.

0:35:570:36:01

It takes a while for it all to sink in.

0:36:010:36:04

-Would it help if we see upstairs?

-I think so, yes.

0:36:040:36:07

'Our mystery house may be three dwellings in one,

0:36:070:36:11

'but each part has been extremely well renovated and keeps its individuality.

0:36:110:36:16

'Upstairs off the light spacious landing is a small single,

0:36:160:36:20

'currently decked out with bunk beds, and a bright double room.

0:36:200:36:24

'Next door, there's a modern family bathroom

0:36:240:36:26

'and at the other end of the landing we find their sleeping quarters.'

0:36:260:36:30

-Oh, very nice, yes.

-Simple.

0:36:300:36:33

Simple but effective, yes, I like it very much.

0:36:330:36:36

Lots of space, and then for you, Marilyn...

0:36:360:36:41

lots of hanging space, a dressing room.

0:36:410:36:43

-Oh, good, someone's finally thinking of me.

-And...

0:36:430:36:47

-Ta-da!

-Oh, excellent.

0:36:470:36:49

And that little cupboard's for you there, Joe.

0:36:490:36:52

You're too kind(!) And that's about all I will be given, I'm sure.

0:36:520:36:57

-But a very nice en suite actually, double shower.

-Yes, good.

0:36:570:37:00

And good views out of the window.

0:37:000:37:03

Out of the window is where we go next as we have a garden to explore.

0:37:030:37:06

And the sun's even shining.

0:37:060:37:08

'I think this much extended house offers up a surprising treat

0:37:080:37:13

'inside with lots of room, space and light on both floors.

0:37:130:37:17

'Let's see what they make of outside.'

0:37:170:37:19

Unlike some of the properties I have been showing this has not

0:37:190:37:23

got acres and acres of land, this is what they call a manageable garden.

0:37:230:37:26

Yes, it's a very convenient size, isn't it?

0:37:260:37:30

It's been very nicely done, I have to say.

0:37:300:37:33

What do you think it's worth?

0:37:330:37:34

Oh, good question, I'm going to take a stab at about

0:37:340:37:39

just over £1 million.

0:37:390:37:41

I'd say just under £1 million.

0:37:410:37:43

-Well, it's on the market for £825,000.

-Well done.

0:37:430:37:50

It's been on the market for one week

0:37:500:37:52

and I think it's going to be in high demand.

0:37:520:37:55

-It probably will be.

-Oh, yes.

0:37:550:37:58

So, have a look around as usual and I'll meet you around the front.

0:37:580:38:01

-OK, great.

-OK.

0:38:010:38:03

Wonderful, that was a good experiment because it could have backfired horribly

0:38:030:38:08

because it's really not what they were asking since there are no views.

0:38:080:38:11

But I do think it's a very valid point that if you want to come back

0:38:110:38:14

to England and you want to integrate, you've got to have neighbours.

0:38:140:38:17

This place has neighbours.

0:38:170:38:19

So, coming in nearly £400,000 under their budget at £825,000 our enchanting mystery house offers them

0:38:190:38:27

a beautiful airy sitting room with high ceilings and period features,

0:38:270:38:32

a large bespoke kitchen, four bedrooms with two en suite,

0:38:320:38:36

and just under an acre of garden

0:38:360:38:39

all set in the heart of a village community.

0:38:390:38:43

The house in fact is much more charming inside than at first appearance from the outside.

0:38:430:38:49

So, I was very pleasantly surprised.

0:38:490:38:52

I love this room. In fact I could be happy in the whole house.

0:38:520:38:56

I like the house very much.

0:38:560:38:57

The garden is very good, easy to manage.

0:38:570:39:01

The one thing I have against it is the proximity of other houses to it.

0:39:010:39:06

The lack of a view is disappointing

0:39:060:39:09

because obviously it is nice to have a feature to look out onto but it's not something that's insurmountable.

0:39:090:39:16

What do you think, think you could live here?

0:39:160:39:18

Yes, the aspects I thought I wouldn't like I actually do.

0:39:180:39:22

I'm happy with the garden, I'm happy not to have an enormous garden, I'm quite happy with the view from here.

0:39:220:39:27

All right, that is your lot, time to put your thinking caps on.

0:39:290:39:34

'Well, Joe and Marilyn's house search has reached its final destination.

0:39:400:39:45

'There is no doubt it's given them a lot to think about.'

0:39:450:39:48

So, the weather has stayed consistently English

0:39:480:39:51

for our Italian home buyers and they've braved it, good on them.

0:39:510:39:54

Time now to find out which of the houses they liked best.

0:39:540:39:58

Allora, now is the moment where we look back over the properties we have seen,

0:40:020:40:06

-starting with the house with the stunning views.

-They were stunning, yes.

0:40:060:40:10

Very, very nice indeed and a beautiful house particularly the ground floor layout.

0:40:100:40:16

The gardens were wonderful.

0:40:160:40:18

What let it down for us was the upstairs, the bedrooms, very, very little storage space at all.

0:40:180:40:24

And it did feel a little bit isolated.

0:40:240:40:26

Can I ask about land at this point with the farmhouse because that was a big, big plot of land.

0:40:260:40:31

-Wonderful house.

-Stunning house.

-It was a stunning house. I just fell in love with it completely.

0:40:310:40:36

Everything about it I loved.

0:40:360:40:38

I didn't mind the outbuildings either I could probably have

0:40:380:40:42

found something to do with those, but I think the one thing that did put us off was the nine acres.

0:40:420:40:49

The mystery house was interesting in that it didn't have much land to speak of.

0:40:490:40:53

It had a nice garden and it was a sort of curved ball in the sense it wasn't isolated.

0:40:530:40:59

What were your thoughts about that?

0:40:590:41:01

The amount of land it had was slightly less than we were looking

0:41:010:41:06

for, but it did have a very nice garden and again a beautiful house.

0:41:060:41:11

Fell in love with it right away as well,

0:41:110:41:14

but what really is a problem with that one is it's overlooked

0:41:140:41:19

and it's also very close to a road with a lot of traffic noise.

0:41:190:41:22

And although the house was isolated from the noise inside, outside it was quite noisy.

0:41:220:41:28

And what did you think, Marilyn, about the concept

0:41:280:41:31

of being in a village as opposed to being out on a windswept hill?

0:41:310:41:34

I think that particular village because it had a very

0:41:340:41:37

good community spirit, I certainly would like to look into that more.

0:41:370:41:41

Is there any one that stands out as a definite contender?

0:41:410:41:44

Oh, the farmhouse was absolutely wonderful.

0:41:440:41:47

The farmhouse for sure. Stunning house.

0:41:470:41:49

If we could just pick it up and move it somewhere else it would be great.

0:41:490:41:53

-I know we can't.

-Losing those outbuildings in the process.

0:41:530:41:57

-"Oops!"

-A barn's dropped off.

0:41:570:42:01

Well, it's been wonderful.

0:42:010:42:03

You've both been very game coming from the sunny climes of Italy to brave the elements here.

0:42:030:42:09

So, thanks very much and I wish you the best and I hope it all happens very swiftly.

0:42:090:42:13

Thank you for helping us with our learning curve.

0:42:130:42:15

-Yes, thank you, Alistair, it's been great.

-Da niente.

0:42:150:42:20

-Prego.

-Bravissimo.

0:42:200:42:22

I'm not entirely sure we've convinced Marilyn and Joe to move back to rainy old England,

0:42:250:42:31

but I think we did do a very good job of showing them some beautiful properties

0:42:310:42:35

and perhaps alerting them to the fact that they don't really need all the land they were hoping to get,

0:42:350:42:41

and without that land they could probably get a beautiful house in their budget.

0:42:410:42:45

So, I think all round a pretty good job on quite an unusual brief.

0:42:450:42:49

And if you want to see more happy house hunters looking at

0:42:490:42:53

beautiful property in the beautiful English countryside,

0:42:530:42:56

then join us next time for more Escape To The Country.

0:42:560:42:58

Now as Marilyn and Joe would doubtless say, arrivederci.

0:42:580:43:02

If you'd like to Escape To The Country in Scotland,

0:43:040:43:06

England, Wales or Northern Ireland and need our help,

0:43:060:43:10

please apply online at -

0:43:100:43:12

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:340:43:37

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:370:43:40

Alistair Appleton is property-hunting with a couple returning to the UK from Italy. With a healthy budget, they are hoping to find a property in Dorset to rival their current lakeside villa. Alistair also visits the only dairy in the world that makes Dorset blue vinny cheese.